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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Roses in Enamel Buckets The Prudent Homemaker

It's been a very busy week here, and on top of everything we've had our foreign exchange student here. I wasn't sure ahead of time how much English he spoke, and so while we help him to learn new words in English, we've also needed to converse quite a bit in French. I've had a lot of French study this week! I especially used Word Reference to look up words for both of us, and I've pinned a good number of French language pins on my Pinterest board. My French comprehension skills have really increased this week; there were only a couple of times I didn't understand, and that was usually because something was said too fast or too quietly.

I enjoyed a couple of video chats with friends in France. It continues to amaze me every time that video calling exists, and I love that it is free!

I cut peonies and roses from the garden.

I harvested lettuce, spinach, snow peas and Swiss chard from the garden.

Several of my children (and our houseguest) enjoyed climbing and rappeling on my nephew's climbing wall. It's pretty amazing that he has a climbing wall in his backyard, and it was great fun for everyone.

I downloaded a free Photoshop app to my phone to use to edit pictures on my phone.

My husband cut his own hair and a son's hair this week.

I turned a pair of torn jeans into jean shorts by cutting them off and hemming them.

I had a number of teens over for dinner. I made a large pot of minestrone soup and some French bread for a frugal meal.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

Note: I misplaced my camera battery charger recently, which is why there was no post last week and no additional posts this past week. Now that I can use my camera again and we've worked out a "new normal" with an additional teen in the house, I should (hopefully!) be able to get back to projects and more posting this week! If you want to see more photos, check out my Instagram account, where I have been sharing photos from my phone during the week.

 

 

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Comments

  • I bet it's a lot of fun to work on your French with a guest! I don't think I've ever done a video call, but I love that you can use that to improve your language skills.

    My son was just talking about having a climbing wall in our back yard. They climb trees constantly, but I think a climbing wall would be a blast. Something we'll have to think about when our #yearofno is over.

    Here are the ways I saved last week: http://www.mediumsizedfamily.com/5-ways-weve-saved-money-week-73/

  • I hadn't done any video calls until 2 years ago. It is super fun and the technology is just amazing; it's like being in the Jetsons :)

  • Tiffany E. May 07, 2017

    We love video chatting with our "French son" and his family. When he was here last summer, he was able to watch the Euro Cup along with his father in real time!

  • Margaret @approachingfood April 24, 2017

    As always, sounds like a fun and product week! There's nothing like immersion to learn a language quickly. And, I loooove that flower photo!

    My frugal accomplishments are for the past two weeks, so forgive the long post:
    - A magazine at work had a sample of face cream, so I took it. Waste not, want not!
    - Got the last bit out of syrup out of a jar of homemade chocolate syrup by adding in some milk and shaking it. Chocolate milk for the win!
    - Repurposed a spritzer that I had used for citrus vinegar cleaning into a water mister for my balcony garden. And my radishes are starting to sprout!
    - Made taco soup using Brandy’s recipe as a starting point, but using what I had in my pantry instead. I tossed in some rice and beans I had made and frozen a while ago. Delicious, and now I’m set for lunches for a while!
    - Made lemonade (using storebought juice; Canada’s climate is just not conducive to growing lemons, as much as I would it to. But apparently we can grow figs here, if we bury the trees in the winter!)
    - Made Arnold Palmers using some iced tea that I had made from loose leaf tea gifted to me, combined with my freshly made lemonade.
    - Packaged up some loose leaf tea gifted to me to give to my sister for her birthday later this month. I’ll be giving her cookie dough tea, banana chocolate chip tea, and amaretto almond biscotti tea, all in mason jars with cute printed labels and fabric covers from my fabric stash. I knew there was a reason I was holding on to those scraps of fabric!
    - Made sweet potato brownies and used some spelt flour that I had in my pantry. Apparently I can also substitute in pumpkin puree, which I’m happy about as I have a can of pumpkin puree in my pantry that has been sitting around for 1-2 years and that I want to use up. Brownies are a perfect way to use it up!
    - Packed the brownies (high in protein & fibre) and some Arnold Palmers for walk with my sister and the DH. Tasty way to refuel!
    - Packed more brownies and went on a bike ride with an old friend. Biking + brownies = calories nullified!
    - Bought 10 lbs of potatoes at 20 cents/lb
    - Made chocolate cupcakes with buttercream icing (http://approachingfood.com/the-only-buttercream-recipe-youll-ever-need/) and filled the cupcakes with a sort of ganache/mousse. It’s frugal because a) it was all made from scratch from pantry ingredients, and b) I used up leftover ganache from my baking submission for The Great Canadian Baking Show. I had two bits of leftover whipped ganache that I mixed together with a failed attempt at whipped ganache (more chocolate whipped cream than whipped chocolate ganache), and when I mixed all the bits together, it basically turned into a very thick chocolate mousse. I really dislike wasting food, so this was a perfect way to use up the leftover ganache! I topped the cupcakes with homemade chocolate bunnies that I had made a week or two ago and baked it all inside fancy wrappers that I had purchased at the dollar store. A dozen of the cupcakes served as my hostess gift/contribution to an Easter dinner that a friend of mine hosted. Pantry ingredients + leftovers = super-frugal hostess gift!
    - My parents sent us home with salad and ham leftovers from Easter dinner. I ate the salad for lunch, and the DH ate the ham for dinner!
    - Took some forsythia prunings home with me from my parents place, and arranged it in a vase for a centrepiece for the week.
    - Took some purple wildflowers home with me from my parents place and arranged them in a bud vase for my bedside table. It looks so pretty, and it makes me smile!
    - Redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift certificate
    - Received a free package of carrot seeds in the mail
    - Made a potato and broccoli gratin, using some storage potatoes and part of a giant broccoli crown (bought on sale), and using up the last of a container of panko crumbs that my mother had given me months ago. I blanched the remaining broccoli florets (about half the head) and froze them.
    - A client at my workplace gifted my colleagues a box of croissants and a couple of jam jars. After eating our treat, one jar of jam wasn’t even opened, so I took it home and will turn it into linzer torte squares for my workplace. Since I was gifted the jam, I estimate that a lasagna tray full of the squares will cost less than $1.50 to make, with $1 of that being the cost of butter.
    - Made a batch of yoghurt
    - Made a batch of chocolate nut copycat larabars. I used regular dates that I had bought in bulk and had for a while in my pantry, as opposed to specialty medjool dates, and used a mixture of nuts (almonds and walnuts) that I had in my pantry, as well as some dried coconut (a pantry staple for me, that I buy in bulk) and psyllium powder to increase the fibre content. Delicious energy bites that feel decadent but are actually entirely healthy! And significantly cheaper than larabars. SIGNIFICANTLY. 
    - Made a pitcher of iced tea with some loose-leaf tea gifted me to me.
    - Was gifted some loose leaf tea from a client at work (Lime Gelato and Peach Ice Cream flavours). As a thank you, I bought her a product from my workplace, using my employee discount. I plan to repackage and re-gift the loose-leaf tea as part of a basket of teas for my sister’s birthday.
    - Canned some pears to use them before they went bad
    - Use the leftover pear syrup to sweeten a batch of iced tea
    - Had friends over dinner, and made Brandy’s Tomato Basil Soup (I ran out of carrots, so I subbed a potato in, and simmered parmesan rinds in the soup to add flavour to the soup), which I served with homemade olive and pesto focaccia (using up the last of some pesto I had made and part of a can of olives I had opened for another dish earlier in the week). I also made spinach and ricotta lasagna (http://approachingfood.com/easy-cheesy-spinach-lasagna), using up the last of some lasagne noodles I had in my pantry, and a package of frozen spinach that I had sitting in my freezer for a while. The most expensive part of that dish was the ricotta cheese (the other cheese – aged white cheddar – I had bought on sale a few weeks ago). And then I served linzer torte squares for dessert. A relatively frugal meal, using sale items and pantry staples, served on my wedding china, made for a rather nice company meal!
    - Made a lovely table setting with no cost outlay -- I folded cloth napkins into poinsettia flowers and placed them in the soup bowls, and placed a white truffle in the centre of the flower. The truffles had been gifted to me months ago, and I don’t really like white chocolate, so I had saved them. Made a perfect flower centre!
    - Pulled some daffodil bulbs that had never flowered, and planted zucchini seeds in their place. My lettuce hasn’t sprouted yet, but my radish seeds are sprouting happily in all of their pots, which makes me happy! And, my first nasturtium seed has sprouted!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as usual!

  • http://thejewishlady.com April 24, 2017

    Wow, pear syrup in iced tea? Never would've thought of that, but it is so clever and makes good use of resources. Awesome!

  • Margaret @approachingfood April 24, 2017

    Thanks! It makes the iced tea taste sooooo yummy, as the syrup is slightly pear-flavoured! I also recommend doing the same with peach syrup! It's essentially a simple syrup, after all. Yum!

  • Jenny April 24, 2017

    Re the lemons, I live in Australia and although we have loads of lemons, we have no cranberries and very few blackberries, raspberries and cherries.

    Even the commercial pie fillings have a mixture of berry and apple.

  • Margaret @approachingfood April 24, 2017

    It guess it's a trade-off. I'd love to grow lemons, but I would miss the cherries that grow in my parents backyard. Are berries super-expensive in Australia?

  • Cindi April 24, 2017

    I love all your frugals -- fun and inspiring!

  • Margaret @approachingfood April 24, 2017

    Thanks, Cindi!

  • Jeannie, GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com April 24, 2017

    Margaret, you did not post any pictures of your table setting with the napkins folded into poinsettia flowers with a truffle in the center. Maybe you did but I could not find it on your website. I am not complaining or criticizing, just being nosey.

  • Margaret @approachingfood April 24, 2017

    Jeannie, you make me laugh! And no, I didn't post the poinsettia flower. But this is basically what it looked like, except even nicer, because it was a fabric napkin. And of course, who can resist a chocolate centre? https://www.mychinet.com/entertaining/poinsettia-napkin-fold

  • Athanasia April 24, 2017

    I too went looking for a picture of the table.

  • Elizabeth M. April 24, 2017

    I've sorted out my summer clothes and discarded those that were worn out or damaged beyond repair. Then made a list of what needed to be replaced. I've been watching online sales, and ordered a few things: a pair of pants at 50% off and a bathing suit and two tops at a 10% sale plus a 30% new customer discount. I've also joined ebates after reading about it here.

    Later in the month, I have an errand to do in the city, so I'll check out the thrift stores and discount stores and see what else from my list I can find. The 24th of May (actually, the closest weekend before is a holiday weekend) is considered the traditional start of summer here, so I've a little time yet.

    A highlight in the last couple of weeks was seeing two moose standing on the bank of a creek, enjoying the beautiful spring sunshine. Usually, you see moose feeding or walking, but that day they were just standing there soaking up the rays. A few days later we had 10 inches of snow, and we have had quite a few inches this last couple of days as well. Like the moose, we'll just have to enjoy the spring as we find it.

  • Sabrina April 24, 2017

    I am envious. One of my goals in life is to see a moose in the wild.

  • Elizabeth M. April 25, 2017

    It is an amazing sight.

  • Athanasia April 25, 2017

    We've only seen moose out west while traveling. They are amazing looking animals. We're too far south to be moose habitat though occasionally they have wandered down from the Upper Peninsula.

  • Marcia April 29, 2017

    My suggestion would be to camp in Maine after Labor Day. We had a whole (smallish) campground to ourselves one year and a nice healthy bull moose came though the place, just walking around the entire grounds to see what he could see! That doesn't happen every time, but we have probably seen as many moose in Maine as we did during our visit to Alaska--and you don't have to travel as far. Sadly, camping is out and motels are in for us these days as we have entered our middle 70's---soft beds and hot showers appeal to us.

  • Esta Kandarian April 24, 2017

    I love your blog, Brandy. You are such an inspiration. I volunteer at my church's thrift store each week, so on top of the already amazingly low prices, I get first pick of the donations I sort through, and a 20% volunteer discount. Last week, for just under $10, I got a hardback book ("The Wind Boy"), an etched glass salt and pepper set, a Lenox china vase, a coffee mug, a scarf, and a large wooden puzzle, all lovely and all like new. I rarely buy durable goods new anymore, since almost everything my daughters and I want eventually comes through that shop!

  • We buy so much at garage sales or thrift shops when possible. I am able to make my money go so much further that way!

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